by Jude Timms
The Australian National Maritime Museum is giving families, especially the kids, a rare opportunity to have a first-hand experience of steering a ship with their newest interactive exhibition, Ships and the Sea.
Ships and the Sea
How do propellers steer a ship? What is meant by trimming the sails? What is underwater surveillance? These questions and more will all be answered in a new interactive exhibition especially for families opening at the Australian National Maritime Museum this summer - Ships and the Sea.
On entering Ships and the Sea children will discover what it’s really like to be a sea captain in a range of hands on activities that explore the science of shipping.
They can climb inside a simulator to drive and operate a reach stacker (a fork lift that moves shipping containers) and load containers onto a model ship while learning why it’s important to balance the load. They’ll learn how to navigate, start a ship’s engine and about diving to shipwrecks.
There’s a purpose built port where kids can steer remote controlled vessels … but make sure your boat doesn’t collide with someone else’s! And there are plenty more hands on stations to explore including a man overboard rescue interactive and even an underwater listening test.
The exhibition emphasises that ships and shipping industries are very important to world and Australian trade. Over 90 percent of all world trade is still carried by ships. In 2010-11 the Port of Sydney alone handled 29.7 million tonnes of shipping containers worth $61 billion from just over 2,000 visiting cargo vessels. Australia wide, just over 1 billion tonnes of cargo was handled by ports around the country, by 5,904 vessels.
Ships and the Sea has been produced by Heureka the Finnish Science Centre. Principal partner the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will also present a special display revealing the latest developments in shipping safety, search and rescue and marine environment protection.
This summer, the museum is inviting families to spend a day joining in the sea adventures with Ships and the Sea showing alongside the already popular Pirates! adventure land where children can transform themselves from landlubbers to fearless buccaneers and Wetworld – the museum’s family water play area.
The museum will also offer a full program of school holiday activities for children of all ages including daily ‘Pirate and Captain’ craft activities. For full details visit www.anmm.gov.au.
The exhibition is recommended for children aged 8 – 12. Entry fees to Ships and the Sea and Pirates! and Wetworld apply. Call 02 9298 3777 for more information.